Advanced Essay #1: Movement

Introduction: My goal for this essay was to explain how I overcame a change in my life by connecting several memories and relating them to the present. I am proud of my descriptive memory scenes. I feel as if I was able to convey the important details without going on forever. I need to improve on explaining ideas within my reflection concisely. I tend to get caught up on how to express exactly what I am trying to say and it doesn’t work out.

We walked through the lush green garden to the small wooden back house, situated away from the street, behind the larger blue house in which my best friend lives. I walked beside her and another best friend, laughing and joking. We stepped inside. There were only two rooms, one with a bed in the corner and bookshelves with hand sewn dolls on them, and a little bathroom.

My friend walked over to the bed and plugged her phone into a speaker sitting there, and began to play music as we talked. She played some songs I didn’t know as the two of them sang to the music. I stood and laughed along as they made screeching sounds and jerked around as poor imitations of melody and dancing. As one song came to a close, she reached over and turned out the lights. The afternoon sun streamed through into the semi darkness, creating contrasting patches of bright spots on the floor as we held our own carefree party within the miniature house. The opening notes to the next song played, bright bouncing chords that were familiar.

“Ooooh I love this song”, my one friend exclaimed.

“I know, it’s such a throwback!” the other yelled over the start of the pounding beat. We continued to flounce around the room as the song went on into the catchy chorus, “no matter what you say or what you do, when I'm alone I'd rather be with you…” The way we felt was reflected in the way we moved; careless, free, nothing held back. We were comfortable in this oddly lit room, with each other, and the music. It was peaceful and chaotic, a physical catastrophe of swinging arms, a mental meditation free of worries. I was content sharing the happiness with my closest friends.

This juxtaposition of peace and chaos is something that I have experienced numerous times in my daily, social or school life. I used to be a very active person, as activity would calm me down. When I was in a chaotic situation, I would feel very relaxed. Another example of this is in the calm that I have felt while practicing or performing circus arts. I remember the thoughts that went through my mind while wrapping myself in fabric before spinning through the air.

A particularly hard trick I once learned was the triple star drop, during summer circus camp. I was so tired. My muscles had been aching for weeks and I could practically feel the pain I would endure in the future. I had lost track of my oxygen intake, didn’t know if I was breathing too fast or not at all. My body had been pushed past its limit, every muscle stretched loose and flexed taut, contorted in impossible movements. My skin was covered in stinging rashes and burns, the results of silken fabric that clung too tightly as it slid against my legs. Angry red scrapes lined my armpits and ankles from the rough rope. My hipbones were purple with bruises from the unforgiving metal of the trapeze bar.

Maybe I was so calm because my brain was flushed with blood. Maybe I had no space in my mind for worry because it was filled with the list of every move to make, every transition into the next position to be executed flawlessly. I had no time to think about what would happen if I fell because I was reviewing my checklist, going down the lines one by one, making sure everything was in place. But I did it automatically anyway; the right side invert, right leg hook, left arm reaches down, loops around the left leg, lift up and out, scoop fabric up and invert again, now do it all again, and again, right leg, left arm, left leg, now wrap around, once, twice, okay. I had done it. My mind was clear as I readied myself for the drop. My body was upside down 30 feet in the air and I’d never felt safer. This calmness is what led me to become so passionate about circus arts. It was an escape, an opportunity to clear my mind. Circus was being in the moment.

A year ago when these activities were taken away from me, everything was reversed. For a time I spent my days sedentary. I was not allowed to walk or even wheel my own wheelchair. My unexpended energy bottled up inside my head since I could not let it out through movement. It rattled around in there, sending my thoughts everywhere in disarray.

Now, I sit at the front of the fitness room and watch thirty kids jump and stretch and sweat. They come into the room solemn from other classes, systematically filing in, a sense of refinement around the way they move. Throughout the next hour, they begin to smile more, laughing as they complain of sore muscles and how the class is “killing” them, and it seems that as they move they let off steam. This is not to say that I am sad now. This is to say that upon reflecting over these memories of movement, I have realized how I have adapted over the past year. I have learned that discontent and restrained resentment need to be released somehow. I have developed new ways to let my energy out, most commonly through writing, drawing, reading, or working. Nostalgically analyzing my past has shown me how different it is from the present, but not that it is better either way, simply different. Change has come, and phases have gone. Maybe I will soon be able to return to circus as I have to dancing with my friends and simply walking. If I don’t, I can still remember the serenity of hanging upside down preparing for my favorite trick.